Balm/Salve consistency

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candicec003

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Hello everyone, im stuck on my healing salve that I really want to make! I cant get the consistency I want, and for some reason after the recipe has been poured into containers, the next day it looks granulated. In my recipe I include bee's wax and I think its the bees wax that is separating from the rest of the oils? not sure. I use solid and liquid oils in my recipe along with the bees wax. I have tried different percentages to try and get the consistency right, but the one thing that has always happened is the granulated look after a day or two.

Someone please help me, any useful advise/opinions welcome.
I will list the different variations i've tried in an effort to get it right, tell me what you think

Attempt #1
25% beeswax
65% olive oil
10% shea butter
essential oils @ 2%
Attempt #2
15%beeswax
50% shea butter
35% olive oil
essential oils a 2%
Attempt #3
30% beeswax
60% olive oil
10% shea butter
essential oils @ 2%
Attempt #4
10% beeswax
35% olive oil
25% cocoa butter
30% shea butter
essential oils @ 2%
 

atiz

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I have never had problems with beeswax granulating, but shea butter, if not tempered, can cause that. In fact, some of my lip balms ended up very granulous because of the shea (it doesn't bother me though too much. In fact I have bought some factory-made lip balms as well that after a while became quite granulated).
Did you melt everything (including the beeswax) and mix very well?
 

Ladka

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I use beeswax at 10 % and never have granulating, but I don't use shea butter (in case it is the culprit). It takes quite a lot of time to melt beeswax cause I don't want to overheat my oils. And I don't use EO's but hydrolats (in case this is the culprit),
 

candicec003

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I have never had problems with beeswax granulating, but shea butter, if not tempered, can cause that. In fact, some of my lip balms ended up very granulous because of the shea (it doesn't bother me though too much. In fact I have bought some factory-made lip balms as well that after a while became quite granulated).
Did you melt everything (including the beeswax) and mix very well?
What do you mean tempered?
I melt the bees wax first in a waterbath and then add the solid oils and then the olive oil, mix well allow to cool a bit before adding EO. I had no idea shea butter could cause granulating.
 

DeeAnna

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When I make a lip balm (30-25% beeswax), I pour it into balm tubes or little tins when it's hot and liquidy and don't have problems with the product being grainy.

When I make a salve (15-20% beeswax) and pour it when it's really liquid into 1 oz jars or larger 0.5 oz lip balm tubes, the salve gets grainy.

I don't know why there is a difference -- less wax? bigger containers? Or??? -- but I have figured out how to prevent the salve from being grainy. Here's what I do --

Melt all heat tolerant ingredients in a hot water bath until the beeswax is fully melted and the mixture is transparent.

Remove from heat and stir CONSTANTLY until the salve cools to 140 deg F or below (well below the melt point of beeswax, in other words). The product will go from transparent to opaque as it cools.

When it's below 140 F, rub a small sample between your fingertips. If it feels grainy, reheat and repeat the cool/stir step. (This doesn't usually happen unless I get distracted and don't stir it enough while its hotter.)

Add essential oils and other heat-sensitive ingredients when the product cools below the max temp for the ingredients. Pour into tottles, jars, tins, etc.

If you want to soften any residues to finish the pour, you can set the container back in the hot water bath for a short time or briefly reheat with a hot air gun. It's best to not reheat it back to transparent again to avoid any problems with graininess.
 

atiz

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What do you mean tempered?
I melt the bees wax first in a waterbath and then add the solid oils and then the olive oil, mix well allow to cool a bit before adding EO. I had no idea shea butter could cause granulating.
There is some more info here and here. Grittiness seems to be a common characteristic of shea butter products, at least eventually. (The lip balm I bought -- and also mine -- wasn't gritty at first but I kept it in my pocket and it underwent a lot of temperature changes --- from winter to summer and back. And by the end it was considerably gritty, I mean both of them.)
If your salve is gritty to start with, you should probably try DeeAnna's method of constant stirring.
 
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Mobjack Bay

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I made a salve for holiday gifting with 11% beeswax and the rest as herb-infused rice bran oil. No butters, so no graininess. It was very close to the Gardeners Healing Salve recipe on the Lovely Greens website. It's a nice consistency in the winter, by which I mean it's firm enough to stay put in the containers but soft enough to melt quickly on the skin. I had friends and family ask for more, which makes it a keeper recipe for me, but I will likely add a bit more beeswax for the summer. Jan Berry's Nerdy Farm Wife website has a calendula salve made with beeswax and liquid oils and she uses 12.5% beeswax. If you're interested in trying liquid oils, Marie Rayma (Humblebee and Me website) provides useful information on beeswax:liquid oil ratios, including a table summary and photos to show consistency, here: A Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios - Humblebee & Me.
 

candicec003

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Thank you so much! I had never really thought of excluding the butter portion, I always thought it was key, but maybe not. The butter could very well be the reason for the grittiness. I made a new recipe excluding shea butter in an attempt to fix the gritiness. I substituted the shea butter for mango butter, and it definitely helped, but it was still a bit clumpy. I think im going to experiment with not using a butter. Thanks for sharing the info :)
 

SeaSuds

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I don't use butters in my lip balms, lotion bars or salves (or soap for that matter) and have no issues with graininess anymore. @Mobjackbay I find that a small percentage of rice bran wax (I use 3%) helps with staying solid for summer months. I also add in a product called Ecosilk which gives a lovely 'slide' as beeswax can be a bit draggy, I think IPM will do the same.
 

Nona'sFarm

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Sorry I'm late in responding. I have stopped using shea butter in salves, but still use it in body & heel balms. I found that even if I temper the oils that include the shea butter, I have problems with grittiness in salves if the item undergoes temperature changes later (same as @atiz).

I follow BB advice on tempering. I use a double boiler method, measure in all my oils and beeswax, heat, then keep between 160 & 180 F for 50 minutes. I always temper my oils for balm products that contain butters. Soaping in the Summer Heat - Soap Queen

After pouring, I put the product in the refrigerator to cool quickly.
 

atiz

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Have to say, I felt much better about my gritty lipbalm after having gotten a sample from Badgerbalms (whose products I tend to like, including this lipbalm) and it went super gritty on me after a full summer-fall season. :)
So yes, maybe the solution is no butter at all. Since I don't sell, the grittiness doesn't bother me that much.
 

candicec003

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Sorry I'm late in responding. I have stopped using shea butter in salves, but still use it in body & heel balms. I found that even if I temper the oils that include the shea butter, I have problems with grittiness in salves if the item undergoes temperature changes later (same as @atiz).

I follow BB advice on tempering. I use a double boiler method, measure in all my oils and beeswax, heat, then keep between 160 & 180 F for 50 minutes. I always temper my oils for balm products that contain butters. Soaping in the Summer Heat - Soap Queen

After pouring, I put the product in the refrigerator to cool quickly.
I had no idea tempering oil was a thing. Im a soap maker and ive never had to do it. Now im venturing into unknown territory and learning new things, thanks for the info!
 
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